Anai Cuadra

Anai’s Goals:

Lose weight, improve my overall health, and create healthy lifestyle changes.

Anai’s Tells Her Wellness Story:

I have always been a healthy eater and have done physical activities two to three times a week.  Nevertheless, my weight kept increasing slowly as I got older. About two years ago, I joined the Wellness Center.  But I wasn’t attending on a consistent basis or monitoring my diet carefully.  A year later, I had not reached any of my goals, and I even had gained weight.  For assistance, I joined Weight Watchers at work on September, 2008, and UWin on February 2009.

Weight Watchers helped me learn about eating healthy, controlling portion size, and keeping track of what you eat daily.  I also received support from the group leaders and the members who attended the group sessions. Progress was also monitored closely as I weighed in weekly and the pounds were recorded in a diary.

With UWin, I have increased exercise frequency and consistency as well as targeted specific trouble areas (i.e., improve cardiovascular system and reduce body fat).  I started to work out with a trainer at least three times a week, primarily focusing on circuit training (alternating weights with cardio).  I also worked out on my own by doing activities I enjoyed such as dancing, yoga, and walking on the weekends. Participation in UWin has helped me structure my work outs as well as challenge myself as I made progress.

According to my last labs and PCP visit, I am no longer at risk for metabolic syndrome. I had the support of a co-worker who pushed me to join both Weight Watchers and UWin with her.  We helped each other to monitor what we ate in the office as well as pushed each other to go to the gym and/or exercise on the weekends.  We also celebrated each other’s efforts when we achieved a weight loss or fitness goal.

In spite of my recent success, I still have 40-50 more pounds to lose to reach my ideal weight (according to BMI), but I don’t worry so much about this or about putting a time limit on this long-term goal. Health is a balance of different things that give meaning to your life.

Would you recommend the program to friends/colleagues?

Yes. Weight loss and/or its maintenance can only be achieved with lifelong changes that do not feel like a “chore” but rather are part of what you do every day.  It doesn’t hurt to make exercise fun, make healthy food taste good, eat often, and in small quantities (i.e., not die of hunger), leave space for special treats (chocolate, wine, and cheese) once in a while, and go on vacations and spiritual activities with loved ones to recharge your batteries.  Whatever you do, the important thing is to persevere while continuing to enjoy life, and hopefully, others will join you to do the same.

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Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Division of Clinical Psychology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

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